Explain the significance of the Golden Mean in relation to Aristotle's Virtue Theory ?

The Golden mean is a vital facet of Aristotle’s' virtue theory so it is important that it is understood and can be easily applied to any question.

​The virtues that surround Aristotle’s ethics are to be found within the Golden mean, which involves finding the balance between two means.

Aristotle believed this was the best way to live in society, as extremes of character are unhelpful for example someone who is too assertive can cause for others to lose their confidence. 

Aristotle always said the virtue is to be found between two vices each of which involves either an excess or deficiency of the true virtue an example of this would be: if you were to witness a robbery the coward  does not have enough courage and thus would do nothing, the foolhardy just runs into danger regardless of the situation, whereas the person who holds the mean (courage) will be act in the most virtuous way.

VICE OF DEFICIENCY                     MEAN                     VICE OF EXCESS

COWARDICE                                COURAGE                 RASHNESS

Aristotle said that the difference between virtue and vice in both emotions and actions was a matter of balance and extremes. However it is not as simple as just applying the virtue, one must apply phronesis (practical wisdom) in order to decide on the best course of action depending on the situation. Phronesis according to Aristotle is gained as we grow up and move away from rules and subsequently allows us to adapt to a more autonomous, person-centered and virtue-centered morality.

Within this question it is important to use examples as not only does it show the examiner you not what you are talking about but also it often paints a picture in your own mind and makes the content easier to understand. Furthermore, the use of technical terms such as "phronesis" allows the examiner to differentiate you as a higher-level student and subsequently pushes you into a higher-level band.

Oliver C. A Level Business Studies tutor, A Level Philosophy and Ethi...

11 months ago

Answered by Oliver, an A Level Religious Studies tutor with MyTutor

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist


£22 /hr

Rini J.

Degree: Philosophy and Modern Languages (Bachelors) - Oxford, St Hilda's College University

Subjects offered:Religious Studies, Philosophy+ 6 more

Religious Studies
English and World Literature
English Literature
English Language
-Personal Statements-

“An Oxford student and aspiring teacher with extensive tutoring experience in the UK, France, and China. ”

£20 /hr

Edward L.

Degree: Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Bachelors) - Kings, London University

Subjects offered:Religious Studies, Economics

Religious Studies

“Economics Prize Winner and Undergraduate studying PPE at King's College London offering economics tutorials”

£24 /hr

George M.

Degree: History (Bachelors) - Oxford, Balliol College University

Subjects offered:Religious Studies, History+ 3 more

Religious Studies
-Personal Statements-

“About me:I am a history student at Balliol College, Oxford. I love almost all humanities, especiallyHistory and RS (Philosophy, Ethics and Theology). I hope that our sessions will help me share my enthusiasm and interest!I am v...”

About the author

Oliver C.

Currently unavailable: for regular students

Degree: Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Bachelors) - Manchester University

Subjects offered:Religious Studies, Philosophy and Ethics

Religious Studies
Philosophy and Ethics
Business Studies

“About me: Hello, my name is Ollie and I am in my first year studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Manchester. I absolutely loved my time in 6th form and I would love to have the opportunity to share the pass...”

MyTutor guarantee

You may also like...

Posts by Oliver

Explain the significance of the Golden Mean in relation to Aristotle's Virtue Theory ?

What is the average rate of return ?

Other A Level Religious Studies questions

What does Plato's Cave analogy in the 'Republic' tell us about his understanding of reality?

What is the best essay structure for a philosophy essay?

Can Natural Law ethics still be plausible today?

How do I break down, criticise and memorise a philosophical or ethical argument?

View A Level Religious Studies tutors

We use cookies to improve your site experience. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss